Easy Purse and Tote Bag Making Supplies
I love making my own purses and totes. I know, it sounds like a lot of work but it can be so satisfying to make something that you can use in everyday life. Making purses is also a really fun activity to share with your kids. Kids love to learn how to make things with their own two hands and teaching them how to make something they can then use, like a purse or bag, will surely give them a lot of personal satisfaction!
Making a purse will also help kids develop their fine motor skills, patience and decisions making. So many great things will come out of this project so let’s get started!
All you need are a few basic supplies for your project:
Adding magnetic clasps to your Purse or Tote Bag
It might sound intimidating at first to make your own tote bag but it really isn’t very hard. The first part of the process is especially fun- picking out your fabrics! This is something that your kids can definitely participate in. You will need two different patterns for each bag so let your kids choose any fabrics they like- maybe they match, maybe they don’t, but that is part of the fun!
Allow them to decide what fabric they would like to use and stick with their decision. One key, however, is to try to choose a thicker cotton to help the durability of your bag. Washable fabric is also preferred just in case you need to clean your bag later.
Bag Making Accessories
Get together the rest of the things you need to make your tote before you begin your project (if you get everything together first, you don’t need to scramble around later and can just have fun!). You will need a canvas strip to be the handle of your bag.
Canvas will be easiest to sew but rope can be a fun handle for a nautical themed bag. Scissors, an iron, and a needle and thread will also be needed for your project. If you have a sewing machine, this will make the whole process much faster.
Learning to Sew
If you are doing this project with your kids, don’t be afraid to teach them how to sew with a real needle, just stress the importance of being careful and be sure to supervise them. If this makes you nervous, do the sewing part yourself! However, kids as young as 6 have the motor skills needed to sew with a needle and thread and around age 9 is safe to teach kids to use a sewing machine.
Work with your kids to show them how to trace the tote pattern and then cut it out. Show them the importance of cutting the cotton fabrics the same size and help them envision the final product at this point- crooked edges or different sizes will make the purse crooked in the end! Remember though, this is a fun project so if the fabric is a little off, don’t let your kids get frustrated- a unique bag is what we are going for here! The first one will always be a little off.
Creating your Tote Bag
Next comes pinning the bag together and the sewing. Sewing the bag can take a little time, especially if you are hand sewing. I love to use this time to sit around and talk to my kids. It may sound obvious, but while their little hands are busy sewing, their mouths will be talking away, telling you story after story. This is the part I love the most!
After all of your sewing is done, iron your bag and take a look! You have just created something that you can use in so many ways! How you use your bag and how your kids use their bags may be very different. While I use the latest bag, I made as a beach tote, my daughter uses it to carry around extra outfits for her dolls. Both uses are perfect! My daughter also already has a list of other color and pattern totes she ‘needs’ to make. Of course, every doll needs their own purse!
Other Projects to Try
Once you have mastered putting together a basic tote, you can try something a little more complex. Maybe add a pocket to the front of the bag (great for your cell phone or for your daughter’s dolls shoes!) or add a pocket to the inside as well. A zipper closure on the top of the bag is an awesome idea but zippers can be tricky so get ready for a challenge!
Playing around with different patterns and color combinations can be fun as well. My favorite tote I have made was a plain grey outside with a bright fun floral print on the inside. This purse goes great with any outfit but open it up and there’s a bunch of super cheerful flowers!
I’m not sure any of the bags my daughter has created have ever had matching patterns but because she picked them all out herself, she is extremely proud of the polka dot and dog print fabrics she chose. I’m sure you are now thinking of all the different totes and purses you can make with your kids. Grab your favorite fabrics and gather your kids around to watch the how-to video to begin making your creations. Anytime is a great time to craft with your kids and these totes also make great gifts! Just so many reasons to get sewing!
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